Craving a change of scenery this season (without hopping on a plane)? With its expansive beaches, breathtaking coastal bluffs, and quiet seaside-town feel, Malibu is proof that locals don’t need to venture long distances for an escape that feels like a world away.
Despite its singular oceanfront location, the ‘Bu is within easy driving distance of much of Southern California, making it an ideal destination for a stress-free family spring break that offers un-crowded outdoor adventure and blissful relaxation in equal measure. Within hours, you can hop in your car and discover a SoCal paradise that travelers around the world dream of visiting — but few have right in their backyard.
Whether you’ve cancelled existing travel plans or are simply looking for a last-minute destination for spring break, here are four excellent reasons to book your family’s stay at Malibu Beach Inn this season.
Spring Beach Activities & Exploration
Spread across 21 miles of coastline, Malibu boasts more than 30 (!) beaches, each offering unique opportunities to explore and unwind. Whether your family is the seeking-out-sea-creatures type or you’d rather sit back and relax on the sand with a good book, warmer spring temperatures and quiet pre-summer crowds set the perfect stage for either — or both.
For curious young ones, the tidepools at Leo Carrillo State Beach spark a world of imagination. Visible at low tide, they’re teeming with colorful sea anemones, sea urchins, starfish, mussels, crabs, barnacles, snails, and more. The state park is also home to unique, rocky “caves” and outcroppings that beg to be explored and climbed upon.
If you’re looking for activities on sand and sea, Surfrider Beach is true to its name, offering the perfect place to watch the region’s avid surfers in action and give it a try for yourself. (Malibu Surf Shack offers lessons as well as surfboard, wetsuit, kayak, and stand-up paddleboard rentals.) For an even more local experience, book a lesson with Malibu Surf Coach — Chris “Stingray” Stiegler will take you to lesser-known spots for an unforgettable surfing experience, whether you’re a beginner or you already know a thing or two about riding waves.
To check out one of the LA area’s largest stretches of sand, make your way to Zuma Beach. Volleyball courts, lifeguard stations, and seasonal food stands make it a popular spot where there’s always something going on, and given its size, there’s plenty of space to partake in your beach activity of choice, from sunbathing to sand castles. Finally, for a quieter place to lounge, Malibu Beach Inn guests can discover Carbon Beach just outside the hotel. Dotted with comfortable loungers, it’s a peaceful place to relax and unwind (and even take part in a daily morning yoga class).
Whale Watching & Other Wildlife Spotting
The coastal landscape of Malibu is a haven for all sorts of wildlife on land and sea — and lucky for visiting families, these residents are often easy to spot as they go about their daily life (especially with a pair of binoculars). Malibu Lagoon is home to a multitude of different birds, while sea lions and harbor seals can often be seen (and heard) basking along the coastline under the SoCal sun. Look a bit more past the shore, and you may see dolphins jumping out of the sparkling Pacific waters.
Spring in particular is the best time to get a glimpse of some of the ocean’s most majestic creatures: whales. Gray whales can be spotted somewhat near the shore during their northbound migration, as well as adorable newborn whale calves. Make the easy hike up to Point Dume (with the aforementioned pair of binoculars) and keep your eyes peeled for these beauties — the promontory is also a stunning setting for a picnic while you watch and wait, especially at sunset.
To get an even closer look at these creatures of the deep (including minke whales, blue whales and fin whales, which can often be seen further offshore), consider a luxe yacht charter the whole family will remember for years to come. The Duchess Yacht Charter Service offers whale watching trips out of Marina Del Rey (a short distance from Malibu) on their 63-foot motor yacht, complete with five-star service and — hopefully — unforgettable whale sightings in their frequented waters.
Hiking Among California Wildflowers
Spring is wildflower season in Southern California, and colorful blooms such as lupines, monkey flowers, and mariposa lilies have already begun to crop up along Malibu’s hiking trails and areas. The hillside as you hike up to Point Dume is a sure thing for wildflower spotting, and the trails around Malibu Creek State Park are also particularly colorful.
For perhaps the most vibrant display of wildflowers in the region, take a scenic drive out to Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve. Here, you’ll have the chance to wander the trails among idyllic fields of bright poppies — you may have had a peek at the blankets of them on Instagram last year during the 2019 “superbloom,” thanks to wet winter conditions. This season, the warm weather has spurred the poppies and other wildflowers (including fiddlenecks, red maids, and forget-me-nots) to bloom at a record pace, which the California Department of Parks and Recreation keeps track of on its website.
Family-Friendly Shopping & Dining
Photo: Malibu Country Mart
Back in Malibu, there are plenty of options for family-friendly shopping and dining. Malibu Country Mart is a hub for both — featuring Malibu’s top boutiques and brands as well as open-air playground areas and green spaces for families, it’s the perfect place to browse and play the afternoon away. For a bite, Taverna Tony and Tra di Noi serve some of the area’s best Mediterranean cuisine (Greek and Italian, respectively), each in charming, airy settings within Malibu Country Mart.
If you’re searching for a sweet seaside treat post-shopping or beach, the counter-service Malibu Yogurt and Ice Cream is another local favorite haunt. They dole out 16 rotating varieties of frozen yogurt (that are, shockingly, fat, sugar, and dairy-free) along with classic cones, banana splits, and more.
And, even if you’ve had dessert before dinner (after all, this is vacation), Malibu Beach Inn’s Carbon Beach Club is an ideal place to end the day. Over locally sourced dishes and a next-level kids’ menu, you and the rest of the family can recap and reflect on a perfect day in Malibu, whether you’ve come from near or far.
Featured Photo Courtesy of Malibu Country Mart